A cool blend of contemporary & retro culture

POMS: Two cheers only for a film that aims to take the art of ageing to new comical heights

Class act Diane Keaton teams up with Australian acting royalty Jackie Weaver in this easy-to-watch comedy that realises the dreams of a retiree, exploring friendship and self-discovery later in life.

After being diagnosed with cancer, Martha (Keaton) is motivated to move from smoky New York to sunny Georgia, where she does something way off the cuff, that is to form a club of senior citizen cheerleaders with her local retirement community. Her next-door neighbour is noisy, boozy Sheryl (Weaver) who is the black sheep of a fairly conservative lot, and together they lead the club into all manner of shenanigans.

Jokes about ailments in frail ageing bodies are aplenty but while they might find an empathetic older audience, they’ll do nothing to draw the attention of the more affluent mid-market crowd.

Laughs aplenty are drawn from a silver rinse generation whose pom-pom handlers also include Rhea Perlman (of Cheers fame), Pam Grier, Phyllis Somerville, Patricia French, Carol Sutton and Ginny Maccoll.

As you’d expect, jokes about ailments in frail ageing bodies are aplenty but while they might find an empathetic older audience, they’ll do nothing to draw the attention of the more affluent mid-market crowd. If anything, Poms reads like a rom-com for seniors, keeping the genre alive – only just.

Aside from the laughs, there are also tender – and often cringe-worthy – moments that might make even elderly audience members uncomfortable, with none of the tender parts doing any favours for the film.

Poms is a likable enough buddy movie with a strong female cast, and while some of its actors – such as the effervescent Weaver – work the script hard, others, such as Keaton, upholds uphold type-cast personas, whose neuroses, after a while become more annoying than endearing.

While thematic issues of facing death and seizing life lend this comedy drama a certain appeal, and while it is refreshing to see a film made to suit an aging demographic, Poms suffers from too many clichés. Mind you, it does have its redeeming moments that offer glimpses of the depth of human frailty, it’s just that these don’t hover long enough to be emotively gripping when the potential is absolutely there.

Spend your money instead on a month’s subscription to Netflix, watch Grace & Frankie, and see how a show can portray the art of ageing in a clever and brilliant way – with all its ailments and frailty, fun and disgrace.

Annette McCubbin & Antonino Tati

 

‘POMS’ is in cinemas now.

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